Top Ten Territories for Russia

  • 2007 AAR League

    I’ve been thinking a lot about the map configuration in Revised and the tactical possibilties it opens up as compared with Classic.  IMHO, the Revised map is a HUGE improvement over the original. It’s much better thought out and reflects many more years of playing experience.  I am curious what others think about this, particulary those who have been playing Revised for some time.

    The two countries most obviously affected by the changes are Germany and Russia.  I think some territories clearly have been designed to be the lynch-pins of each country’s defense, if played properly.  Here’s my list of the territories most important to Russia (excluding its capital, which is obvious) in descending order of importance.  I’ll do one for Germany later.  Truth be told, there are probably only 7 or 8 truly important territories to Russia, but in the interest of a nice round number, here’s my “Top Ten” list:

    1.  Caucuses – probably the easiest call, but an argument could be made for #2 West Russia.  If Caucuses falls to the Axis, Russia can’t be far behind.
    2.  West Russia – this territory’s importance is more tactical than strategic.  From this territory, Russia can defend its entire western front.  You can also blitz armor in, say Archangelsk to Ukraine (and vice versa) if you control this territory, maximizing your flexibiltiy.  Losing this territory makes the Caucuses all but impossible to defend.
    3.  Kazakh – also critical for defending the Caucuses, this is the only other territory on the map that touches both Russia and Caucuses.
    4.  Ukraine – at 3 IPCs, this country is critical to maintaining Russia’s economy through the early to middle rounds.  It’s also the gateway to the Caucuses or West Russia.
    5.  Novosibirsk >
    5.  Belorussia  > – A tie for 5th.  They are both worth 2 IPCs and both have some tactical value, though not as critical as nos. 1-4.
    7.  Persia – though not a Russian territory or one that Russia can capture, from this territory an Axis player can threaten both the Caucuses and Kazakh.  Better to have this one in Allied hands, if possible.
    8.  Karelia – A victory city, after all.  Not to mention the gate through which much of your Allied reinforcements flow.  Fortunately, your Allies usually take care of this one for you.
    9.  Archangelsk – borders Russia and is accesible by sea (for emergency reinforcements from the UK).  The latter gives it the edge over Evenki.
    10.  Yakut – usually your first line of defense against the Japs.  Holding this line until at least turn 3 buys you the time you need to set up your home defense.

    Notice Evenki does not even make the list, nor does the Soviet Far East or Buryat.  The latter two usually fall in the first two turns, and Evenki is rarely the Japanese player’s entry point of choice into Russia.  Novosibirsk or Kazakh make much better choices.

    Reactions, disagreements, controversies – bring 'em on!  Make your best case.  8-)

  • 2018 2017 '16 '11 Moderator

    I’d put Sinkiang way above Novosibirsk.  From here you defend Novosibirsk, Kazakh and Russia.  SFE/Yak/Evenki are all worthless, the three together barely equate Ukraine.  Bury is a lost cause.  If you have it on Russia 3 you are EXTREMELY lucky or you are playing National Advantages.

  • 1.  West Russia.
    2.  Caucasus.
    3.  Novosibirsk
    4.  Russia

    if you know what you’re doing.

    West Russia is the key position.

    Caucasus is the territory that you can’t let Germany have for more than one turn.  New players may let Caucasus fall to Germany, anticipating a takeback on USSR’s turn, but Japan can fly fighters in, then it’s infantry and artillery and tanks supplemented by S. Europe transported units.  Losing the Caucasus kills a lot of beginning players in Revised, more than losing West Russia.  But vets will always keep an eye on Caucasus and those Jap fighters.

    Caucasus is also important because tanks can hit India from there.  But that requires a USSR infantry reserve in Persia, so it’s not all that useful in a lot of games.  In some games,though, that’s something to keep in mind.  Especially since it works the other way as well (Japanese tanks to Caucasus is a real threat if Germany can make an attack play on Caucasus, Japan can move in to reinforce with tanks).

    Caucasus is also important as a fighter base to challenge the S. Europe navy.

    I personally believe that you can let the Caucasus fall as much as you like, so long as you don’t let Germany hold it beyond one turn, and so long as you can take Ukraine as well.  If you take Ukraine (from West Russia), and take Caucasus, Germany will almost certainly not be in position to prosecute an attack on Moscow.  Late game, you can let Caucasus fall permanently depending on the rest of the Allied positions.

    Ukraine is only important because it is adjacent to West Russia and Caucasus.  3 IPCs is nice, but Ukraine would retain its importance for its position even if it were only worth 1 IPC.

    Novosibirsk controls the east.  Early game, Yakut and Ssinkiang are key, with Persia being important if Japan focuses on India early.  Both Yakut and Ssinkiang will need to be retreated from in the face of a strong Japanese threat, though, so Novosibirsk is the fallback point.  Once Novosibirsk falls, Japan can move its tanks from Yakut to Ssinkiang or Kazakh, and vice versa, which makes Japan extremely hard to contain.  Eventually Russia may be forced to retreat from Novosibirsk, but when it has to, it’s watchout time for Russia.

    Russia SEEMS obvious, but really, there are a lot of reasons for listing it.  Fighters from Russia can reach London in one turn, putting a stop to Germany’s Sea Lion, tanks from Russia can hit any of the territories adjacent to West Russia, or hit Yakut or Ssinkiang.  All are very key territories.  Tanks in Moscow are great.

  • MOSCOW is Numero Uno!  :mrgreen:

  • 2007 AAR League


    I’d put Sinkiang way above Novosibirsk.  From here you defend Novosibirsk, Kazakh and Russia.  SFE/Yak/Evenki are all worthless, the three together barely equate Ukraine.  Bury is a lost cause.  If you have it on Russia 3 you are EXTREMELY lucky or you are playing National Advantages.

    Jenn, you’ve played way more games of Revised than I have, but based on years of experience playing Classic and the layout of the map, I would have to disagree.  Sinkiang can be flanked!  Therefore, it cannot be more valuable than Novosibirsk, which Japan CANNOT avoid if it’s going to Moscow.


    1. West Russia.
    2. Caucasus.
    3. Novosibirsk
    4. Russia

    if you know what you’re doing.

    West Russia is the key position.

    I definitely agree that West Russia is a critical territory and I respect the argument for placing it #1.  If you hold W.Russia with sufficient force, then Caucuses should be safe on the Western front, anyway.


    Novosibirsk controls the east. Early game, Yakut and Ssinkiang are key, with Persia being important if Japan focuses on India early. Both Yakut and Ssinkiang will need to be retreated from in the face of a strong Japanese threat, though, so Novosibirsk is the fallback point. Once Novosibirsk falls, Japan can move its tanks from Yakut to Ssinkiang or Kazakh, and vice versa, which makes Japan extremely hard to contain. Eventually Russia may be forced to retreat from Novosibirsk, but when it has to, it’s watchout time for Russia.

    I have to agree – Novosibirsk does deserve higher billing.  It should be higher than Ukraine and Belorussia.  It’s just that, economically, it doesn’t do much for Russia.  You spend 6-9 IPCs or more to take back a 2 IPC territory.  Granted, it is important.  But that’s an expensive trade for Russia that’s not sustainable long term.  But I’ll re-rank as follows:

    1.  West Russia
    2.  Caucuses
    3.  Kazakh (if this falls for good, then it’s REALLY watch out time for Russia)
    4.  Novo.
    5.  Etc.

    And, yes, Russia is obviously a cool territory and, yes Switch, it ultimately is #1.  But as I qualified my post, this is about the territories OTHER THAN THE CAPITAL that are important to Russia (to hold, that is).

    (You know, it’s funny, NPB.  It never occurred to me to send Russian fighters to London to stop the Sea Lion.  I would hope the bloody Limeys are paying better attention than that to need RUSSIAN air power to save their ruddy behinds!  Not to mention, there should be American air power somewhere near.  But you’re right, the tactical possibilities with Russia are endless, which is why I am enjoying playing it so much!)

  • For me:

    1.  Moscow (obviously)
    2.  Caucuses
    3.  West Russia
    4.  Novo
    5.  Ukraine
    6.  Archangel
    7.  Kazakh
    8.  Yakut
    9.  Evenk
    10.  Karelia
    11.  SFE
    12.  Bury

    The top 8 are key.  If Russia holds/gets paid for those 8 every round, it is an Allied win.  When Russia’s Top 8 start getting chewed in to, then the Axis is gaining ground and it is time to be sure that ONE of the Axis nations is getting beaten to snot.

  • 2018 2017 '16 '11 Moderator

    I disagree.  Sinkiang is 1 Territoriy and protects Novosibirsk AND Kazakhistan.  That means that 1 infantry more in Sinkiang is the equivalent of 1 infantry in Novo and Kaz.  Basically by holding Sink you hold a bottle neck.

    Can you go around Sink?  Sure.  Manchuria –> Buryatia --> Yakut --> Evenki.  All 1 IPC territories and almost not even worth protecting.  Or, FIC --> India --> Persia.  But that’s out of the way and would require transport trains set up to expidite movement.  Not impossible, rather expensive, and usually the route Japan goes anyway.

    Two key Territories on the Japan Front:  Persia, Sinkiang. (not in any specific order.)

    1. They are bottle neck points.  Minimal investment for solid returns. (High ROI, return on investment.)
    2. They are not Russia territories, so losing them only costs you units, not units AND territory which you must reconquer for income next round!

    On the German front:  Karelia, W. Russia, Ukraine or Caucasus (Preferably Ukraine!)

    1. They are German territories, losing them does not detract from core income
    2. High value targets with strategic importance.  Fighters in Caucasus can harry German med fleets. (Especially if you have 4 Russian fighters!)

  • Novo is the key to Moscow as Japan.

    It was true in Classic, it still is in Revised.  Sinkiang is secondary to Novo, despite the “choke point” argument.

    I’ll let you figure out why this is true (hint, it has a lot to do with where the IC’s are, what Russia builds, and a finite and tough to replace supply of FIGs and ARM)

  • 2018 2017 '16 '11 Moderator

    In classic I’d agree.  In classic though, all routes got to Novo equally fast.  Not so in Revised.  Takes longer to get there through Buryatia then through Sinkiang.

  • 2007 AAR League

    Jenn, your math is off:

    Starting in Japan, Novo. is three steps away:  1) Buryatia, 2) Yakut, 3) Novo.
    Starting in Manch., Novo is  "      "      "  :  1)    "        2)    "  , 3)    "      or 1) China, 2) Sinkiang, 3) Novo. – same distance!
    Starting in Kwang – I’ll give you this one  😉
    Starting in FIC – from here, Sinkiang is the shortest route.  But if you’re staring here, you’re as likely to head east through India as to head northwest through Sinkiang.  Why?  Let’s list the reasons:  1) India 3 IPCs, 2) Persia (which IS a bottleneck - notice it’s #7 on my list), 3) 3 moves from Kazakh OR Caucuses!, and 4) Africa is in that direction.

    Expensive to go the Southern route?  Compared to what?  You gotta build transports or ICs to get stuff to Asia.  You start with 10 free infantry in the Islands which only move with transports.  That’s 30 IPCs!!!  (Coincidentally the same value as 2 ICs).

    The bottom line is, once Japan has stuff in Yakut (and why wouldn’t it?), you’re position in Sinkiang is untenable.  I personally think Sinkiang was MORE defensible in Classic because you could build the Indian IC and move British troops up to sweep the Japs out of Sinkiang or bolster its defenses.  In Revised, only Russia can reinforce Sinkiang when it could possibly make a difference (barring a Sinkiang IC, that is).  And those Russian troops are in short supply and in danger of being flanked.

    Anyone else think that Sinkiang is critical to Russia?

  • 2007 AAR League

    Make that WEST through India – getting sleepy here

  • Think as I think!  Or you are abominably wicked.  You are a toad!

    Wilt thou:

    Think as I think?
    Be a toad?

    On the map I’m looking at (on TripleA), Kazakh is west of Ssinkiang and Novosibirsk east of Ssinkiang.

    I have almost never found Kazakh to be a crucial territory.  It lives or dies based on the key territories.  There are particular situations in which Kazakh is REALLY far more important that Ssinkiang, but I have found those to be rare in play (although perhaps not in theory).

    Let us say that Germany has a fat stack in Caucasus.  Will it move that fat stack to Kazakh?  No, it will stay put to protect that 4 unit producing industrial complex.  Kazakh will be a target of opportunity, but even then Germany will NOT take Kazakh in any real force.

    Let us say that Japan has a fat stack in Persia.  Will it move that fat stack to Kazakh?  It is almost certain that IF Japan has a fat stack in Persia, it is because Japan has anticipated ahead of time that Germany would be taking Caucasus.  Japan will therefore move to reinforce.  Because of the logistic problem of moving infantry from Japan to Persia (then Caucasus or Kazakh), Japan must concentrate its forces along with Germany.

    Or let us say that Japan controls Ssinkiang in force, and can take Novosibirsk and Kazakh.  Will Japan choose to take Kazakh in force?  I think it unlikely, because if Japan has ALSO been prosecuting a battle in the east, it is likely that Japan will control Yakut as well.  The Japanese infantry from Yakut and the Japanese infantry from Ssinkiang will unite at Novosibirsk, not at Kazakh.

    Kazakh IS a territory that is important for purposes of moving units through it.  But I think it will be rare that Kazakh will be key rather than Novosibirsk for Japan for expert players.

    When will Novosibirsk be more important?  When Japan makes a strong and solid approach.  Kazakh is really more important for blitz type games, which I tend not to find a lot of.

    So what are examples for when Kazakh IS more important?

    (One) Let us say that Japan controls Yakut and Ssinkiang with 3-4 infantry each, has more infantry behind those (say 2-3 ready to move up), and 8+ tanks that can move back and forth, plus air cover.  Now there are different possibilities.

    If there is a mighty force in Russia, Japan often cannot afford to consolidate in Novosibirsk.  It is usually far more effective to use Yakut to threaten Evenki and Novosibirsk, while threatening Kazakh from Ssinkiang.  If Japan takes Evenki/Novosibirsk/Kazakh, then Russia must respond, or lose infantry each turn.  But if Russia DOES respond, it bleeds off its defensive strength and its offensive potential.  Typically, the Allies have set up either a transport chain, or have flown in fighters, so the bleeding of defensive strength is NOT all that important.  But bleeding off offensive potential is.

    Of course, Russia does NOT have to commit its forces.  Russia can pull a hit and run, trading infantry for infantry.  This bleeds off the Axis infantry reserves and makes it very hard for the Axis to crack Russia’s ever-growing pile of UK/US fighters plus Russian infantry, or possibly the stack of UK/US infantry that is moving in from Archangel, etc.  The thing is, IF the Axis powers cannot unite their forces, Russia can use its unified strength to pummel one then the other, while being defended by its UK and US allies.  So the Axis REALLY need OVERWHELMING strength if they want to take any territory next to Moscow.

    So IF Japan does NOT consolidate in Novosibirsk, where is the next best place?  It is NOT Kazakh, because Kazakh is also threatened by Moscow (for the same reasons)  If Japan holds tanks at Yakut (two territories away from Moscow, so out of range of Moscow infantry and artillery), or if Japan holds tanks at Ssinkiang (also two territories away from Moscow), then those Japanese tanks can STRIKE at Moscow, but are probably not very vulnerable in return (because it is VERY difficult for the US or UK to build up any real tank force in Moscow, so Russian tanks would have to do the attacking - and doing so REALLY bleeds off Russia’s defense).

    So if you MUST decide between Yakut and Ssinkiang to consolidate Japanese tanks, the choice is Ssinkiang BECAUSE OF KAZAKH.  And Kazakh is important, because IF Germany holds the Caucasus well (say that there are perhaps Japanese fighters there), and IF Japan cannot hold Novosibirsk in force, and IF the Germans are trying to fight off the Allied navy in the Atlantic and there is still a good-sized Luftwaffe - IF those are true, then there will be Germans in Caucasus that the Russians can’t dislodge, German fighters at Eastern Europe (because from there, they can help attack Russia and fly back, while also threatening any serious Allied penetration of either the Baltic or the Mediterranean) - IF all those are true, AND if the Germans can get to within a bit of taking Russia (say leaving just 6-7 fighters and 3 tanks there perhaps), THEN - IF the Germans can ALSO take Kazakh on the same turn and open the way for Japanese tanks to attack Russia from Ssinkiang (along with the Japanese air force), THEN it COULD be an Axis victory.  But although all of those suppositions are quite possible in theory, I have never played a game like that in fact.  Usually, if I have lost the Caucasus as the Allies, I control or seriously threaten Eastern Europe, in which case Germany has to consolidate its fighters at Germany (if the Atlantic is still contested) or Ukraine (if the Atlantic is hopeless).  If it is Ukraine, Germany threatens Novosibirsk as much as Kazakh, if it is Germany, both Novosibirsk and Kazakh are unreachable.

    (Two) Japan has an Indian industrial complex and is attacking through the south heavily.  Now, attacking Novosibirsk is not so crucial; Japanese control of Persia means that Russia must bleed off its infantry to the south, or risk a German/Japanese held Caucasus, from which BOTH Germany and Japan will attack Moscow as they llike.  I have also never played a game like this in fact.  I will typically either stall at Ssinkiang/India against a KJF strategy, or I will not take India until J3 against a KGF strategy.  Either or both prevent any industrial production at India until J5 (build industrial complex J4, produce J5), which means it’s J6 until any units move on, by which point the game is USUALLY already decided

    I believe Ssinkiang’s really only important in a KJF, and even then only if both Ssinkiang and India have industrial complexes.  There are exceptions.  If Japan doesn’t take China on J1, then the US can muster a worthy force in Asia.  If the Allies build industrial complexes and Ssinkiang and Asia, then the Allies can try to fight off Japan’s advance.  Otherwise, at BEST, the Allies can use Ssinkiang as a stall point, but it does little to slow the POWER of Japan’s advance.  Ssinkiang is a point from which the Allies cannot advance.

    To explain - IF China falls, US has 2 inf in Ssinkiang.  The USSR has - how many - who cares.  Now, if the US tries to use its 2 inf to attack the Japanese in China, that’s pretty bad odds for the US.  But what if USSR attacks China?  Or UK, using units quickly transported through Arch/Moscow/Novosibirsk?  Well, both of the latter suit Japan just fine.  If the USSR attacks China, that’s forces bled off from the Russian defense against Germany.  If the UK tries the long march, the UK is not really exploiting its proximity to Europe, so that is ALSO good for the Axis - not great for Japan, perhaps, but QUITE good for Germany.  And in EITHER case, China does NOT gain the Allies IPCs.  If USSR takes China, that is AFTER US’s turn, so the US will not collect IPCs.  And Japan will recapture China BEFORE the US can collect IPCs.  Same for UK; if UK captures China, Japan immediately recaptures, and the US never sees a single IPC from it.  So Japan fights and gains resources, the Allies fight and do not gain resources.  It is a win-win-win for the Axis.  The same is true if Russia/UK/US hold Novosibirsk and try to attack into Ssinkiang.  The Japanese win logistically, the Allies lose logistically.

    To advance, there must be reinforcements.  But any reinforcements that ATTACK stretch the Allied lines of reinforcement further, while shortening Japan’s lines of reinforcement.  So the Allies still need an edge, which usually means that the Allies need a US Pacific fleet.

    So I say that Ssinkiang is a decent holding point and an important territory if Russia is trying to deny Japan IPCs in a KJF.  But I say that if the Allies are NOT planning to blow Japan’s socks off, that Ssinkiang is at best just a territory that soaks up Russian reinforcements that could otherwise be used in the west against Germany, and that does not stop the Japanese attack once it becomes serious.

    Also - let me make another argument for why I think Ssinkiang not that important (UNLESS the Allies do KJF).  If Russia DOES run away like mad, WILL JAPAN PURSUE EARLY?  I think NOT, because if Japan DOES pursue early, Russia can often just turn around and kill the Japanese forces with little fear of reprisal.  (In many games, Japan will have either attacked the UK or US navies with its air, so Japanese air will often NOT be in position to attack an inland position.  This limits Japan’s reprisal to ground units on the mainland, which should be in short supply on J2, considering that Japan should only be able to move 2 units onto the mainland (assuming the Kwangtung transport is destroyed with UK fighter/carrier or carrier/destroyer, or any of various UK moves).  Even if the Japanese Kwangtung transport survives, Japan will not be able to strike inland early, because its reinforcements will be on the coast - and as well, Japan will only have 1 tank on the Asian coast available to attack with on J2 (because even with a J1 industrial complex buy, placement cannot occur until J2, and even with purchased transports and tanks on J1, the units can only be transported to the Asian mainland during J2, meaning that ONLY the initial tank that Japan starts with, which can be transported to the Asian coast on J1, can be used to attack inland positions on J2).

    There is the exception, of course - if Russia decides to leave 6 infantry in Burytia, Japan might try for the swift kill (along with Germany) and try to bleed off the Russian infantry / strategic bomb to cripple economy for the J4-J5 win.  In that case, the Japanese fighters WILL be around the mainland.  But then, Ssinkiang should fall very quickly anyways, because of the freedom 6 fighters and a bomber give Japan on J2.

  • Kazakh is WEST if Sinkiang
    Novo is NORTHWEST of Sinkiang

  • 2007 AAR League

    Glad someone knows their directions!  I’d be getting worried if someone referred to the Eastern Front as the Western Front…although if you did do that, you shouldn’t be playing the game!  :evil:  Although I guess as Japan, that “is” their Western Front.

  • 2007 AAR League

    NPB:  Those are some interesting and insightful points, especially about Kazakh.  I think you are looking at it, though, from the Axis perspective more than from RUSSIA’s persepctive.  Not to say your points are not valid because they are indeed.

    In fact, I think that post qualifies as an essay.  You should submit to Mr. Jensen who is looking for strategic essays as I recall.  I think a lot of players could benefit.  🙂

  • 2018 2017 '16 '11 Moderator

    You’ve got 3 routes to Moscow.

    1. Manchuria>Buryatia>Yakut>Novosibirsk>Moscow

    2. Manchuria>China>Sinkiang>Novosibirsk>Moscow

    3. Japan>FIC>India>Persia>Kazakh>Moscow

    That of course assumes a build of 1 IC in Manchuria which is the safest (notice safe, not necessarily wise) place to build one.

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